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Saturday, July 29, 2006

ESPN - First Rounders Get Signed: Ravens Sign Ngata; Cowboys Lock-Up Clayton; Steelers Ink Santonio Holmes; Reggie Bush Remains

John Clayon and Len Pasquarelli For ESPN

Roundup: Ravens reach agreement with Ngata
ESPN.com news services

The Baltimore Ravens reached agreement Friday on a five-year, $11.9 million deal with first-round choice Haloti Ngata, the 12th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Ngata, a 6-foot-4, 337 pounds defensive tackle from Oregon, was considered one of the key offseason additions to the Ravens' defense because he is a big, body along the defensive line who will eat up blockers and make it easier for middle linebacker Ray Lewis.

"I'm really relieved that it's done and I can go play football. I couldn't afford to miss too much time because I only had that one minicamp," Ngata told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It was a good deal. The Ravens were very fair to me."

-- John Clayton

Cowboys hammer out deal with Carpenter
The Dallas Cowboys completed their draft choice signings by striking an early Friday agreement with first-round selection Bobby Carpenter of Ohio State.

The 18th player chosen overall, Carpenter will sign a five-year contract with a maximum value of $11 million, including $7.5 million in guarantees.

A tall, athletic linebacker (6-foot-2, 256 pounds), Carpenter possesses the kind of size head coach Bill Parcells has long favored at the position. He is the son of former New York Giants and Houston Oilers running back Rob Carpenter, grew up around the game, and has a strong sense of the league.

A starter in 26 of his 50 appearances for the Buckeyes, Carpenter finished his college career with 191 tackles, including 23½ tackles for losses, 14½ sacks, three interceptions, seven passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two recoveries.

Not surprisingly, given his bloodlines, Carpenter is an instinctive player with good diagnostic skills. Although the Cowboys have retooled their linebacker corps over the past two seasons as they continue to transition to a 3-4 defense, Carpenter should vie for playing time as a rookie.

-- Len Pasquarelli

Holmes agrees to five-year deal with Steelers
First-round draft pick Santonio Holmes reached terms on a five-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, a deal that apparently does not include added contract language protecting them against additional off-field problems.

By reaching terms with Holmes minutes before coach Bill Cowher held his first full-squad meeting of camp, the Steelers locked up their last remaining unsigned player. Earlier in the day, they signed third-round pick Willie Reid, the former Florida State receiver.

Holmes, a former Ohio State star wide receiver, has been arrested twice since being the No. 25 pick in the April draft. He faces an Aug. 15 trial on an assault charge involving a woman in Columbus, Ohio, who is the mother of one of his three children. He also pleaded innocent to disorderly conduct charges brought Memorial Day weekend in Miami.

Despite Holmes' off-field problems, which clearly agitated Cowher and cast doubt on whether Holmes has the maturity and focus to be a productive NFL player, Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said the team is protected enough by the standard player's contract.

-- The Associated Press

Bills reach agreement with McCargo

The Buffalo Bills have reached an agreement in principle with one of their two first-round draft choices, defensive tackle John McCargo.

McCargo, a 6-foot-2, 302-pound three-year starter at North Carolina State, agreed to a five-year deal worth more than $8 million that included $5.2 million in guarantees. The Bills began practice Friday morning, and McCargo, the 26th overall pick, will try to get to camp at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, N.Y. for the afternoon practice.

It's likely, given the turnover in Buffalo, that McCargo will battle for a starting spot as a rookie. At worst, he figures to be a part of Buffalo's tackle rotation in 2006 and log considerable playing time. McCargo has a nice mix of power and quickness and can play either tackle spot. He is one of three former Wolfpack defensive linemen chosen in the first round of this year's draft.

He had 134 tackles in 30 appearance, all but one of them as a starter.

The Bills still have to work on safety Donte Whitner, the eighth pick in the draft.

-- John Clayton and Len Pasquarelli

Jaguars sign first-round pick Lewis
First-round draft pick Marcedes Lewis signed a five-year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday, a day before the team opens training camp.

The tight end, chosen with the 28th overall pick, is expected to back up veteran Kyle Brady. But the Jaguars are counting on rookie's versatile skills to help replace Jimmy Smith, who abruptly retired in May and left the team with little experience at receiver.

Lewis' deal is worth about $7.5 million, with a little more than $4.8 million in guaranteed money.

Linebacker Clint Ingram, a third-round pick from Oklahoma, also signed Friday. He had been the last unsigned rookie.

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